Saturday, September 22, 2018

Alternate house #LifeGoals


If you're a longtime reader of this blog, why?

Seriously, though, if you're a longtime reader, you know my dream goals for retirement housing (assuming I don't need a nurse named Annie to give me my pills every eight hours and remind me where my socks are) are very modest and quiet, along the lines of a small, cozy house in the forest with a goat or two. (A one-bedroom rancher on the streets of Montoursville would be great, too.)

But there's also a part of me that would be thrilled by a huge, old, dilapidated mansion. So I was definitely digging the above tweet, which hit my @Papergreat feed this morning.

It turns out, according to Soul Photography and Obsidian Urbex Photography, that this place is called Le manoir Colimaçon and is located in northern France. It was built around 1900 and has been abandoned since the late 1990s (perhaps earlier). One of the translations of colimaçon is "spiral," and this mansion has a spiral staircase that goes from the basement to the top floor.

If a mysterious benefactor or ambitious publisher wants to put me up in this house for a year or two, I think I could write a pretty great book about the adventure. Think Peter Mayle meets Shirley Jackson.

Victorian trade card for Partridge & Richardson's Bee Hive


This Victorian advertising trade card, from the late 19th century, is 4½ inches wide. The back is blank. On the front, the business touted is:

Partridge & Richardson,
Bee hive,
Nos. 17 & 19 Nth 8th St.

Nth (or Nth) is an abbreviation for North, so that's "17 & 19 North 8th Street."

According to The Library Company of Philadelphia, Artemus Partridge and Thomas D. Richardson operated a "bee hive" dress trimmings store at 17, 19 & 21 North Eighth Street in Philadelphia.

Partridge & Richardson was founded by Partridge in 1852. Richardson joined the partnership in 1874. Partridge died in 1895. Business was conducted at Eighth Street until December 1899, when Richardson opened a general department store at Eighth and Chestnut, widening the footprint of the previous operation. In early September of 1904, Partridge & Richardson was closed permanently and its entire stock was purchased by Strawbridge & Clothier, which also retained many of the former P&R employees. All of this history is according to a September 1904 news item in the Carpet and Upholstery Journal.

The Library Company of Philadelphia states that other advertising trade cards for the "Bee Hive" included couples promenading; frogs and cherubs seated on or near mushrooms holding umbrellas in the rain; anthropomorphic rabbits jumping rope; one rabbit pulling another on a sleigh with a banner labeled "Rabbit Transit"; and an anthropomorphic moon smiling down at a boy sitting on the limb of a bare tree with two cats singing from sheet music labeled "Clair de lune."

The illustration on the front of this post's featured advertising card is labeled "UNE DOUCHE BRUTALE," which is French for a "a brutal shower." My problem with the image is that the physics of the bucket motion and the water don't work at all, unless there's some sort of magic happening here.


Semi-related note
There is a long history of restaurants under the name Partridge in Philadelphia, including some on Eighth Street, but I'm not sure if they're related in any way to this business. You can read about the restaurants, and their advertising, in a comprehensive September 2015 blog post on Restaurant-ing Through History.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Mrs. Carmen Capone's thoughts on U.S. foreign policy


Yesterday I mentioned, randomly and in passing, Mrs. Carmen Capone. Now she's back for an encore. Her name appears in a UPI article on Page 5 of the February 19, 1976, edition of The Pocono Record. The story is headlined "U.S. polarized on foreign policy."

The lede of the story is:
"PITTSBURGH (UPI) — Americans are polarized on issues of economic leadership and foreign relations, according to opinions expressed Wednesday at the first of a series of regional U.S. Department of State 'town meetings' on foreign policy."
And then we get to our subject:
"In the words of one panel member, Mrs. Carmen Capone of the League of Women Voters, 'We should be the first world power. We should see that we win ... and not go halfway. Otherwise, the rest of the world just laughs at us.'"
So much winning. That's what Mrs. Carmen Capone wanted.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Possibly boring book cover:
"Bottle and Glass Handbook"


  • Title: Bottle and Glass Handbook
  • Editor: Don Maust
  • Publisher: E.G. Warman Publishing Inc., Uniontown, Pennsylvania
  • Copyright holder: Edwin G. Warman
  • Original price: $4.75 in 1967 (the equivalent of $35 today!)
  • Original year of publication: 1965
  • Year of this edition: Fifth printing, February 1967
  • Pages: 158
  • Format: Paperback
  • Provenance: $4 at a used-book store sometime in the past couple years. And it might have been 50% off.
  • Title-page text: "A History of Bottles showing their various styles, types and uses from ancient times to present."
  • First sentence of preface: Do you want to collect, sell, or trade bottles intelligently?
  • First sentence of foreword: This handbook is meant as a primer to help put some order into the story world about bottles.
  • First sentence of Chapter 1: Here is a story written in the hey-day of the early 1900's during the nostalgic period of bottle collecting.
  • Last sentence of book: He proceeded to the warm room, and then into the cold bath which completed the process.
  • Wait. What is this book about? Bottles.
  • Random sentence from middle: It is hard to pin down the true origin of the American historical flask, but Thomas W. Dyott, a Philadelphia druggist, was one of the very first to foster the movement.
  • Random, totally unrelated photo that I found while trying to find information about this book on the Internet: Mrs. Carmen Capone.
  • Notes: Other books by this publisher, mostly during the 1950s and 1960s, include: The Fourth Antiques Treasury: A Collection of Information About Antiques and Collectors' Items; 3rd Print Price Guide to N. Currier, Currier & Ives, Kellogg and Other Printmakers; American Cut Glass: A Pattern Book of the Brilliant Period, 1895-1915; Value Guide to Old Books, Listing the Approximate Wholesale Values on More than 2,000 Old and Out of Print Volumes; Milk Glass Addenda; Antique Furniture Guide: A Guide to Periods and Styles from Ancient Times Up to the Victorian Era; The Second Goblet Price Guide; and Antiquer's Formula Folio #2, a collection of formulas and processes for cleaning, preserving, restoring and repairing antiques, etc.

Possibly less boring interior page

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Postcard showing the picturesque Dutch village of Marken


This old postcard features two residents of Marken, a small village filled with beautiful houses in the Netherlands. They are wearing traditional outfits that are specific to Marken, and differ from other areas of the Netherlands, due to the fact that Marken was, prior to the 1950s, an isolated island in the Zuiderzee.

The wooden clogs are the only part of the outfit that I'm familiar with, so I highly recommend that you check out a January 2014 post on Atelier Nostalgia to learn more about this aspect of Marken history. Here are a couple of excerpts:

  • "The costume exists of a colorful striped underskirt and a dark over-skirt, a blue apron with a checkered top, a shirt with either dark blue (winter) or striped sleeves, an embroidered corset, and a red over-jacket with a square of flowered fabric pinned on. All together, the costume of Marken is very bright and colorful."
  • "The costume also has a very distinctive traditional hairstyle. A large part of the hair is brought forward and cut into bangs, and two large pieces are kept long at the sides to fall down in curls. The back is shaved off and is hidden below the hat."

The Atelier Nostalgia post is filled with great images of these traditional outfits, including the caps, which appear to be unlike anything found elsewhere in the Netherlands.

Meanwhile, on the back of this postcard, the stamp is gone and the postmark is too obscured to determine any date. The card was mailed to Mr. R. Waski of Franklyn [sic] Park, New Jersey.

The curious note states:
"Best regards from all the flying Dutchman's & us
Bruni"

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Roundup of Postcrossing arrivals and thank-you notes


It's been a busy end of the summer for the Essex Road postal carriers, with a lot of outgoing and incoming Postcrossing cards. Here's the latest roundup on some cards and notes I've received:

Shown above is a postcard from Denmark that features a 1998 Göran Stenberg photograph of a sleepy girl at a pageant. The note on the back, from Lars, states:
Hi Chris,
here is a card from Saint Lucia's Day, which is celebrated in Scandinavia on 13th of December. Usually girls dress up as the saint and sing songs. In Denmark it has not a very long tradition, it was imported from Sweden in 1944.
Another card that I received is from China, and it's shown at right. The sender writes writes: "Hello, Chris. Greetings from China. My name is Yuri. I like travelling. Every year I go on a trip with my dear friend. My wish is that I can go out and travel every where. At last, happy postcrossing."

Here are some other notes from recent Postcrossing arrivals:

From Liisa in Finland: "Hi Chris. You have a honour to get my very first postcrossing card. This was an idea which I got in the middle of my working day and that is why I send you a postcard which I had with me. Sorry theme is not 'autumn.' Here in Northern Finland we have almost autumn. I love walking in autumn forest, picking berries and mushrooms."

From Jouni in Finland: "Dear Chris, Greetings from Finland! Bear has been an important gesture in our local fairytales and stories."

From Hanna in Germany: "I hope this postcard finds you well! My name is Hanna and since it says in your profile that you like (old) books I picked this postcard for you. I, too, like books and I enjoy decorating my postcards with tape and stickers. We are waiting for a thunderstorm here! Best wishes and happy postcrossing."

From Yuri in Israel: "Greetings from Ashdod, Naval port-city, placed on Israel's Mediterranean coast. Our city also known as 'sea gate to country' because very high naval traffic via port system. We have long sandy beaches, old lighthouse and crusader fort on sea shore."

Thank-you messages

And here are some nice emails of thanks from folks who have received my Postcrossing cards:

  • Natasha from Russia wrote: "Thank you very much for the wonderful postcard! I also want peace and harmony on Earth! I looked to your blog."
  • Melita from Germany wrote: "Greetings from Germany. Thank you so much for your amazing card. I love it!!! The moment when I open my mail box is so exciting, I love it to find snail mail and postcards in it. It makes me so happy. Postcrossing is awesome."
  • Michalina from Poland wrote: "Thank you for the wonderful card! It's nice to hear that there are also people who like reptiles! I also love turtles and breed turtles at home."
  • Akemi from Japan wrote: "Thank you for the postcard. I saw alpacas and llamas in zoo. Have a nice day."
  • Clarisse from Martinique wrote: "I love your card! I don't know anything about baseball unfortunately, it's not really common in France. Have a great day!"
  • Katja from Germany wrote: "Thank you for the nice postcard. I like your handwriting and I agree that too many people don't bother with cooking any more. I cook every day for my family and nobody is obese. It is cheaper to cook at home but it takes a lot of time too. When we visited our daughter in Nebraska in April this year I was allowed to cook a German meal in the family's kitchen and I think they liked it. The American supermarkets are really a paradise for me."
  • Sajal from the United Kingdom wrote: "Thank you so much for the gorgeous postcard! I absolutely love it. What a beautiful painting. I must research some of this artist's other work. Congratulations to your daughter for her performance in the Shakespeare play. ... A Midsummer Night's Dream & the classic Romeo & Juliet are my favourites. Thanks once again for bringing a smile to my face."
  • Alexsandr from Russia wrote: "Thank you for your message and postcard. I like a pic on the front of the postcard and a stamp for The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. When I was a child this movie impressed me so much. Postcrossing is interesting for all ages. I am glad for your daughter. To play a role is difficult task."
  • Nora from Ireland wrote: "Greetings from Galway city on the west coast of Ireland — along The Wild Atlantic Way. Thank you so much for the beautiful and truly wonderful postcard. It brightened up my letterbox today and I really appreciate it. The stamps used on the postcard are great too."
  • Mia from Belgium wrote: "Thank you very very much for the beautiful interesting card and stamps that you have send to me. I love it! I have consulted Google to read some more about Dover, Pennsylvania. I wish you all the best and your mailbox brings you smiles and pretty little touches from around the world. Many warm greetings from Belgium."
  • Hannalore from Germany wrote: "Warm greetings from Germany to you, your family and your 5 silly cats! Thank you very much for the wonderful drawing card, for the many beautiful stamps and for your interesting message too. I like it very much."

Semi-mystery photo of
Peg the baseball player


Here's an undated, 2⅜-inch-wide photograph of "Peg" wielding a bat in a much more menacing fashion than most of the Philadelphia Phillies have this past summer. (It's a nice companion to the Sept. 6 snapshot from mid-century suburbia.)

This photograph had been glued into a scrapbook for many decades. But fortunately, after it was removed, the information written on the back was still legible. It states:

Mrs Fuller School
Ossining

With that clue, I found a reference on the Westchester County (New York) Historical Society website to an undated pamphlet for The Ossining School (Miss Fuller) in Ossining, New York. So that's clearly the same school that's mentioned on this snapshot. According to the historical society summary, it was a boarding and day school for girls in Ossining-on-Hudson. There's sure to be much more information if you can get your hands on the actual pamphlet, which is 44 pages and contains illustrations. (I suppose we could say Peg played softball, not baseball. But given the lack of any evidence one way or another, I'm going to default to baseball. So there.)

Ossining is both a town and a village within that town in Westchester County, New York. It is home the infamous Sing Sing maximum security prison, where Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed in 1953.

Final note: I found a single 1925 newspaper reference to the Aliss Fuller School at Ossining, so that might be her first name. But I don't think we have nearly enough information to identify "Peg."

Montoursville 2018: Interlude


It's been an off-kilter week here at Papergreat HQ, as I've been adjusting to a new job and work schedule. I've moved from Sports Editor to Deputy Opinion Editor at LNP, which means daytime shifts and adjustments to my writing schedule for this hobby blog. So I don't have a new Montoursville 2018 entry at the moment. At this point, I'm suspecting — no surprise — that the series won't be polished off until Halloween or thereafter.

But to tide you over, here's a May 1974 snapshot of me posing beside our modern-day deity, The Television, in the house on Mulberry Street. One question I have:
What's most alarming about this photo?
  • A. The wallpaper
  • B. The curtains
  • C. The carpet
  • D. My shirt
  • E. Yes
I don't have any memories of actually watching television at the Mulberry Street house. But I do have some memories of TV at our subsequent house. So, as a prelude to the next installment, here are some things I can recall watching at our house on Spruce Street, in the middle 1970s:

  • Battle of the Network Stars
  • Wonder Woman
  • Star Trek (in syndication, obviously)
  • The movie Silent Running, which was way too sad for young me, which is probably why it left such an impression

That's it. Either my memory has faded or I just didn't watch too much TV during those years, which is certainly not a bad thing. I do have many other memories of the Spruce Street house, though, which I will share in the next post.

* * *

Bonus Trivia

Nerd alert: I discovered a very cool Marvel canon fact this week. Mary Jane Watson, longtime love interest of Peter Parker and herself a strong figure in the Marvel-verse, hails from Montoursville (!!), according to her official fictional biography.

It would be very cool if MJ and Baron Von Papergreat could appear together some day in a rousing tale set in Montoursville. If I was running Marvel, I'd nominate Chelsea Cain to write it.